New Mexico had two premier chili cookoffs that were once again held at the Route 66 Casino Hotel, outside of Albuquerque, August 9th and August 10th. Saturday the 9th was the Southwest Regional and Sunday the 10th was the New Mexico State. The weather was perfect both days for cooking and the rain held out until after the cookoff on Sunday. The set up, perfectly done by the casino, was like a mini World’s Championship, complete with separate cooks tents, 2 tables and 2 chairs each. A large wash and waste station was also available, really close to the cooking tents for the cooks to use. Every cook was impressed with the set up.
Cooks came from 10 states (AZ, CA, CO, IL, NM, NV, OH, OK, TX, WI), and we had several World’s Champions that competed with us this year, including Mike and Bonnie Ford from La Mirada, California, Tom Hoover from Columbus, Ohio, and Al Henry from Lakewood, Co. Mike Goodman and Jill Goldberg drove all the way in from Madison, Wisconsin. This late in the season, we were fortunate to have enough cooks on Saturday and Sunday to have 2 tables in Red Chili each day. Thank you to all the cooks that showed up and competed for spots at the World’s Championships, the weekend of October 24-26, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The huge Classic Car and Hot Rod Show, with over 300 cars, (the largest car show in the Southwest) was next to the chili cookoff and it was very impressive. There were many beautiful cars!!
With no entry fees, the cooks supplied lots of People’s Choice chili (tasting kits were sold for $5.00 each), to donate more than $2,300 towards the Laguna Acoma High School in Casa Blanca, NM, for their football uniforms and equipment. Way to go!!
I gave out lots of Sunsweet prunes to all the cooks, and lots to the public. The chocolate covered prune samples were being requested by everyone, and it was hard to keep them from melting, since it was pretty hot out there both days. The prune “bites” and prune “Ones” were being eaten by cooks and public alike. Hundreds of my World’s Championship Red recipes were given out. People couldn’t believe the “secret ingredient” in the current World’s Champion’s chili recipe.
The Route 66 Casino gave every cook a very large and beautiful southwestern ceramic Chip and Dip platter, and a $10 off voucher towards the casino’s buffet. The Casino’s ”special gifts” were very much appreciated by all of the cooks.
I know I say this every year, but special thank you’s go out to Skip Sayre, the Cookoff Chairman, along with his fantastic crew of organizers (Steven Concho, Emma Mansfield, Helmut Perzi, and Carol Fabionski), who handled and took care of every minute detail for us running the cookoffs successfully. They are the best!! The casino crew also recruits great judges every year from the Food and Beverage Department. Also, great kudos and thank you’s go out to our great scorekeeping and wrangling team, who kept the back end of the cookoff running so smoothly. They were - my wife, Kathy Plager - Chief Scorekeeper, Lynn Kost Virant, Joe Galli, Ryan Tehar and Chief Wrangler and all around go to guy, Greg Virant. Bonnie Ford helped scorekeep on Sunday. (Pete and Nicole Caimi were very much missed this year.) You guys are a great team to work with!!
Now, on to the winners:
Southwest Regional - Saturday, Aug, 9th
Tina Crutchfield - AZ
Salsa - 10 Entries
3rd Place - Mike Fenley - AZ
2nd Place - Paul Whitney - AZ
1st Place - Karen Cullum - TX
Chili Verde - 17 Entries
HM - Tie not broken for 5th Place - Cheryl Archuleta - NM
HM - Tie not broken for 5th Place - Al Henry - CO
HM - 4th Place - Barbara Herrin - TX
3rd Place - Mike Rook - CO
2nd Place - Jill Goldberg - WI
1st Place - Bonnie Ford - CA (A runaway)
Red Chili - 21 Entries
HM - 5th Place - Dick Swenberger - AZ
HM - 4th Place - Dave Wright - AZ
3rd Place - Tom Hoover - OH
2nd Place - Skip Cooley - NV (Yes Skip, Don’s going)
1st Place - Don Cullum - TX (Smiling ear to ear)
New Mexico State - Sunday, Aug. 10
Marcella Archuleta - NM
Salsa - 10 Entries
3rd Place - George Lott - CO
2nd Place - Barbara Herrin - TX
1st Place - Susan Hyden - AZ (Very excited)
Chili Verde - 16 Entries
HM - 5th Place - Louis Gonzales - TX
HM - 4th Place - Gloria Stevens - IL
3rd Place - Mike Stevens - IL
2nd Place - Susan Hyden - AZ
1st Place - Mike Rook - CO
Red Chili - 21 Entries
HM - Tie not broken for 5th Place - Morris Moss - TX
HM - Tie not broken for 5th Place - Donna Foley - TX
HM - 4th Place - Mick Joplin - TX
3rd Place - Jill Goldberg - WI
2nd Place - Skip Cooley - NV (Yes Skip, Mike is going)
1st Place - Mike Stevens - IL (Repeat Winner)
Bob Plager - Chief Judge
2012 & 2013 ICS World’s Red Champion
September 20 & 21 CT presents to you a back to back ICS chili cook off weekend!
9-20 is the CT State in New Haven. Sharon Willard always puts on an outstanding event for the cooks! Proceeds benefit the Community Action Agency of New Haven.
9-21 is the first annual Zombie/Biker Chili Cook Off in Middletown, CT (30 minutes from New Haven).
The Zombie/Biker Chili Cook Off is a one of a kind ICS event. There will be a pig roast for cooks, a world recognized bike builder will be the MC, a bike ride ending at the CCO, a bar, Jeff Pitchell and Texas Flood and….ZOMBIES! Proceeds benefit The George Ryan Scholarship.
If you haven’t qualified, here’s 6 chances for you to do so. Hotel info coming soon and if you need anything to compete 9-20&9-21, please let me know. (email@example.com)
Lastly,we’re working feverishly to bring an ICS Cook Off to CT on 10-4-14. It will be the first CCO of the new year in the East. Come and qualify EARLY!
Hope to see you in September and October in CT.
The Illinois State Fair chili cookoff is only 5 days away and there are plenty of openings in all categories. Tables and chairs are provided, you cook under a tent and the crowds are fantastic. There is entertainment all day as well as grandstand shows at night for those who stay. in order to get in the fairgrounds and park for free I’ll need your name to put on a pass list. If you need additional incentive, this ISC regional is also a World Food Championship qualifying event for the chili category. Last year three of the top ten WFC cooks were participants in this cookoff.
Call or email if you are interested.
Larry Eastep - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake Arrowhead Cookoff is coming up fast. (8/16/14). We’re getting close to enough cooks for a world qualifier for next year in all categories, but we still need a few more. It’s already a world qualifier for this year!
It’s going to be a beautiful day in the mountains…..cool and clear. If you have not yet qualified for world, come up and give Steve and Tish some practice helping Bob and Donnie run a cookoff. JUDGES NEEDED!!! If you have qualified, or just want to judge, we really need your help.
Call Bob at 951-244-7763 to sign up.
It’s that time of year again when we ask that you check to see if your contact information is up to date. The World’s Championship Chili Cookoff paperwork is being readied for all those who have qualified, so it’s extremely important that we have the correct information on file. You can take care of that from the website - just login using your login name and password and you’ll see a spot that says” Update your Info”. This feature allows you to update your personal information. So, no need to call if you move, change your phone number or email - just modify your ICS profile online!
CLAREMORE – Many of the best chili cooks in America will be flocking to Claremore the first weekend in September to compete in two International Chili Society cook-offs which could qualify them to compete in the ICS World Championship Chili Cookoff to be held in Las Vegas, NV this October.
The first event will be the ICS Oklahoma Championship Chili Cookoff to be held at the Claremore Expo Center on Friday afternoon and evening, Sept. 5th. ICS cooks will be vying for first place in red chili, green chili and salsa competitions. The first place winners in each category will qualify to represent Oklahoma at the world championships.
“It has become a tradition that the winners at the Oklahoma Championship cookoff do very well at the world cookoff” said cookoff chairman and chief judge ChiliJohn Fenrich from Owasso. “Our winners make it to the finals table at world which means they are among the top 25 chili cooks in the world.”
Last year’s Oklahoma Championship cookoff drew cooks from seven states including West Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma.
“The cooks really want a win here so they have a chance at the $25,000 first place prize in Las Vegas,” Fenrich said.
Then on Saturday, Sept. 6th the Expo Center will be the site of the 35th Annual Mid-America Regional Chili Cookoff. In addition to ICS competition there will be local chili teams competing for People’s Choice awards and special prizes in a variety of divisions including Non-Profit, Best of Show, Best Booth and the always coveted Ham-manship Award.
Tasting kits will be sold for both cookoffs so the public can judge for themselves which teams are cooking the best darn chili in Oklahoma.
Hours for the cook-offs are:
Oklahoma Championship – 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mid-America Regional – 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
The cookoffs are held in conjunction with the Bluegrass Festival which is held at the Expo Center from Thursday, Sept. 4th through Saturday, Sept. 6th. The Festival features nationally acclaimed bluegrass bands. Headlining this year will be Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Russell Moore & Illrd Tyme Out, Mountain Heart, Adkins & Loudermilk and the Grascals.
Other activities include Festival Market, arts & crafts, open car show, Kiddie Korral, vocalist competition and many more family-oriented activities.
SERVING IT UP – Owasso chili cook Kay Fenrich serves up her prize winning red chili to eager chili afficianados at last year’s Mid-America Regional Chili Cookoff. She placed fourth in the International Chili Society competition. Chili tasting kits will be on sale at both cook-offs.
FIERCE COMPETITOR – Bruce Brown from Wichita, Kansas stirs his pot at last year’s ICS Oklahoma Championship cookoff held in Owasso.
Mary Renfrow passed away on July 26. She had a zest for life and enjoyed a variety of careers including cosmetology, bookkeeping, notary and being a self-employed business woman. Along with her late husband, Rocky, Mary was successful in cooking competition chili with ICS. A private memorial will be held by the family. Donations in her honor can be made to the Wounded Veterans Association or the American Cancer Society.
We’ve received an OK from the health department to accept applications through noon, Friday, August 8!
Join us Saturday, August 16 at Emerald Downs in Auburn, near SeaTac Airport.
Our current entry total:
Please join us!
The Western Regional Chili Cookoff was held Saturday, Aug. 2 in beautiful Del Mar, CA at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Smart and Final has been a “Premier Sponsor” of this event for many years and once again supplied us with the judging supplies and lunch for the gang. Thank you, Smart and Final. Thanks also to Craig Wendel-Smith and Mr. Robert Walker for the boxes and boxes of El Pato product to distribute to the cooks and judges. It was much appreciated.
Well, Mother Nature wasn’t very nice to us this year providing us with rain most of the day. Luckily, there was no wind and the temperature was mild. Apparently it hasn’t rained at this cookoff for 28 years. The event was held in the parking lot near the concert area which allowed the cooks to park either in back of their booths or across from them, and was much appreciated by all! The majority of the cooks, judges and guests were very pleased with the new location and would like us to be back there again next year. We were honored to have Carol Hancock present announcing the venue details for the WCCC this year, and she received a standing ovation by all of the cooks. The second Credit Union Chili Challenge hosted by XDI Express was also held. Ten homestyle cooks competed for prize money that was donated to the charity of their choice. This event helps bring more chili for the race fans.
A huge thanks goes to Ralph Inman, Tim and Julie Green for running the judging area assisted by Tony Austin, Jim Latendresse and his daughter Nicole Rayor, and Bob Poston for running the beer concession (tough job). Thanks to all who assisted during the day, too many of you to mention, but you know who you are. Of course, a big thanks to Mike “Ughlee” Austin for his outstanding job as Chief Judge, Kathy Stewart as Chief Scorekeeper assisted by Allene Macklin, Aggie Wright, Tish Crawford and Bonnie Ford. This would not be a successful event without the dedication and hard work by Mike Stewart, Dennis Macklin, Sachiko Brecke (keep the California rolls coming!), Scott and Sheila Gordon and last but not least Will and Gail Watkins, who donated the TV for the cook’s raffle and also manned the people’s choice booth raising another $1200 for Soldiers Angels – GREAT JOB!
See you all next year! And for the winners…..
TV Raffle winner – Gregory Shields from Irvine, CA
5th $100– John Regas
4th $200– Brock Scott
3rd $300– Paul Sauerhammer
2nd $400– Dean Harvey
1st $500– Paul Talanian
3rd $100 – Mike Ford
2nd $150 – Susie Baumberger
1st $250 – Dean Harvey
3rd $100 – Don Hammes
2nd $150 – Bob Wiseman
1st $250 – Karen Angotti
3rd $150 – Eileen Beaty
2nd $250 – Irene Menchaca
1st $500 – Charlie Ward
Let’s talk golf! ICS cooks and judges golf. Golf in Lost Wages, I mean Las Vegas. Date will be Thursday, October 23rd. Time will be close to 10 am for the first group to go off. Plan on flying in or driving into town Wednesday if you want to play. We draw tees out of a hat to pick teams. You might end up with four good sticks or 4 hackers, luck of the draw. Course to be determined. It will NOT be Cascata or Shadow Creek or the Wynn, with rounds costing $500.00. But it will not be some dirt track in the desert either. Vegas golf is moderately expensive, so be prepared to pay @ $100 for the round. It’s a scramble format, mulligans are 5 bucks each, 3 max per player, donated to a charity. Everyone’s drive must be used 3 times. We don’t talk chili, we talk golf or anything else BUT chili. We have a GREAT time and would love to have you join us. So far, I am counting on myself, Matt Levy, Ritchie “Big Stick” Omerza, Linda and Bill Blakey, Kurt Leithner and George Lott as sure things. If you are going to play, please let me know ASAP! The more players I have, the better I can negotiate with the golf courses. My email is email@example.com. My cell number is 928-853-1161. Please put it in your phone if you think you might play, once I leave for Vegas I don’t have internet access, no smart phone. Last year we had 3 groups, let get it back to 5 like we had in Reno years ago!
See you in Vegas,